Are all clear invisible aligners the same?
Yes and no. All of the companies that make clear plastic aligners base their treatment on the same principles as Align Technologies (the company that created Invisalign, the first clear aligner). However, there are some differences. Invisalign’s material and methodology is patented, so other companies can’t copy the exact material or the exact methods that Invisalign uses. Therefore, other companies make their aligners out of similar materials and use a similar type of tooth movement technology. In addition, some brands don’t treat the entire mouth; only the six front top and six front bottom teeth. Be sure to ask a lot of questions about the type of invisible aligner treatment you are getting, so that you are properly informed about what sort of outcome to expect.
Can I eat or drink while wearing my invisible aligner trays?
You should take out your invisible aligner trays before eating, unless your dentist or orthodontist has told you otherwise. You should only drink clear uncolored water while wearing your aligner trays. If you drink other beverages while wearing them, it could stain the trays. Sugary drinks are a no-no, because the sugar in the drinks will be trapped by the aligners and stay on your teeth, causing enamel erosion and tooth decay. Never drink hot drinks with your aligners in; the heat could cause them to warp.
Can I drink hot drinks (coffee, tea, cocoa, milk) while wearing my aligner trays?
No, you should not drink any hot drinks while wearing your aligner trays. The heat from the beverage can warp the aligners. Only clear water is allowed. Sugary drinks are especially bad, because they can trap the sugar against your teeth and cause tooth decay.
Is it normal for my teeth to hurt when I start Invisalign or other other clear plastic invisible aligners?
Yes, it is perfectly normal. The force from the aligner trays loosens the periodontal ligaments, making it possible for your teeth to move. This process is often a bit painful at first. Most people find that their teeth are tender for a few days when they change to the next set of aligners. If your teeth become very painful, you can take some Tylenol (Acetaminophen). NSAIDs like Ibuprofen are not recommended, because they can interfere with tooth movement.
How often should I clean my clear plastic invisible aligner trays?
You need to clean your aligner trays after every meal. If you are rushed for time, simply rinsing them under clean running water will suffice. There are also retainer wipes which do a good job on the go. However, you should clean them properly at least once a day with a retainer cleaner which kills bacteria, such as Dentibrite, Steraligner, or Retainer Brite.
Why do my clear plastic invisible aligner trays smell so bad?
A buildup of bacteria causes your aligner trays to smell. Simply brushing them doesn’t kill the bacteria. You need to use a proper retainer cleaner which kills 99.9% of the bacteria and prevent white plaque buildup. Some brands that do the job include: Dentibrite, Steraligner, OAP Cleaner and Retainer Brite. Bacteria buildup can also make you sick, so if your clear aligners continue to smell bad, it’s a sign that you are not cleaning them thoroughly enough on a daily basis.
Attachments for my Invisaligns are uncomfortable.
Getting attachments for your Invisalign treatment will probably feel weird for the first couple of weeks, until you get used to the feeling of something being bonded to the outside of your teeth. You will get used to it as time goes on, just have patience!
My new set of aligner trays are really tight. How can I get them to fit?
You need to bite on an Aligner Chewie to help seat your new aligner trays. If you are using AcceleDent or PulsatePro, the vibrations will also help. If you don’t have either of those tools, you could try biting on a piece of rolled up gauze. If none of that works after the first day, call your orthodontist to ensure that your trays have been made properly.
Why do my teeth feel loose after starting invisible aligner trays?
The force from the aligner trays causes your periodontal ligaments to loosen. That is why your teeth feel a little bit loose. It’s perfectly normal, and necessary to get your teeth to move into new positions. The looseness usually goes away after a few weeks. If you’re concerned about it, mention it to your dentist or orthodontist.